Six Weeks To Strong Week 2: What’s 2% Between Friends?

It's the end of Week 2 of my new life, and I'm feeling amazing – but that doesn't mean it's not difficult...

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit – but 14 days into my new “lifestyle”, I’m not entirely convinced (read about week one here). On the one hand, everything’s going really well: I haven’t fallen off the diet wagon; training is getting… well, more endure-able, if not easier; and my mood is at an all-time high. On the other hand, I’m thinking about food all the time. 24/7.

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

His ‘n’ hers brunch at The Marker Hotel

Therefore, this post is going to be very heavy on the food pics. My food plan isn’t actually all that restrictive – although I’m still off fruit, dairy, carbs outside of sweet potato and brown rice with dinner, sugar, snacks etc – and I’m having a lot of fun figuring out what I can and cannot eat!

But first things first: let’s talk training.

The workouts

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

I have a pretty busy life as it is – I work full-time, I keep a dog, I keep up with my favourite stories on the TV (ahem, Nashville), I hang out with my boyfriend and, oh yeah, I have friends. So adding in four training sessions a week isn’t always super easy. Mornings are okay; they just mean getting up earlier and moaning a lot to anyone who’ll listen. But last week, my Wednesday lunchtime Pilates class was a no-go, thanks to a job I was doing on location.

So the week’s programme consisted of a Monday morning (7.15am) personal training session, a Wednesday evening Strongman class (6.15pm – check out the Lift class timetable here), a Thursday morning (7am) personal training session, and another Strongman class on Saturday at 10am.

The PT sessions are my favourite; we lift heavy weights – at last count I was up to 70kg on deadlifts and a 65kg squat – and chat our heads off. Or, at least, I do. The time goes super quickly, and afterwards I get a protein shake! It’s a bit like going to playschool and getting a star on your copy, except it’s delicious.

It’s the classes that I really struggle with. Being overweight and generally shit at sports (those two things may be related), I’ve never been a fan of group activities – in team sports, I’ve always felt like the one letting the team down (possibly because I was the girl running away from the football and falling over my own feet), and in competitive group activities, I end up just feeling totally rubbish. It’s not that I need to win, I just need to not be the worst person in the room.

Which brings me on to the low point of my week: looking across Wednesday night’s class (which was impossible – hello, endless sessions on the prowler) to find a kindred spirit, who was huffing and puffing and looking a little the worst for wear, I thought I’d found a friend. This was someone I could relate to, wearing an oversized T-shirt and, unlike a lot of the other participants, not particularly muscular. Until…

“Go easy on her, would you? She’s pregnant!” someone says to Niamh, who laughs and says, “she can handle it!” My kindred spirit sets off on the first of her six prowler sets. I shrink a little. (Later, I’d tell her, “I’m really disappointed – I was hoping you were just a bit out of shape!” I’m hoping she wasn’t offended.)

Adventures in friend-making aside – just call me Nora Ephron – classes are definitely getting better. I’m still, 90 percent of the time, the worst person in the class. But sometimes I’ll find my groove and push out a great set of weighted squats, or breathe through a set of sprints on the prowler, and think, this is okay. I’m just trying to forget the other times.

The food

Like I said, food is my new old obsession – and for me, there are two main components to sticking to this thing: preparation and variety.

Last Thursday, I came home from work late and absolutely ravenous, only to realise that there was no food in the fridge. Later, my boyfriend will say to me, “You had that look in your eyes like it was definitely a Bombay night.” I’m cranky and hangry and exhausted, and I can’t face cooking. I text Niamh to ask her what I can get from a Thai takeaway. “A stir fry with veggies on the side – no rice,” she says. Time is a-ticking.

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

But somehow, I have a burst of motivation and head to the local Londis (which is beyond rubbish) to buy bacon and cooked chicken. I fashion a fairly bland omelette, then bask in my smug for the evening. The boyfriend is shocked.

I don’t have any grand conclusions to draw from this, only that – so far – I’m staying on-plan. The other good thing is that, if you think around the problem, there are actually loads of things you can eat in restaurants. This week? Brunch in The Marker consisted of a protein burger and roasted sweet potato fries. Breakfast at Whitefriar Grill was prawns, spinach and poached eggs.

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

Whitefriar Grill brekkie – Gambas Benedict


And my cheat meal? That’d be a roasted garlic burger in Elephant and Castle. Delicious – although (irritatingly), I’ve turned into one of those people who eats burgers and, afterwards, goes, “ugh I don’t feel great after that.” Sigh.Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

Elephant and Castle

Rosemary Mac Cabe fitness

One of the nicest lunches so far – roasted chicken, grated carrot and mangetout salads, avocado and greens

The results

Here’s the important part – after two weeks, Niamh took my measurements again. Two weeks: that’s a holiday in Spain, or the time it takes to turn from summer to Baltic winter in Ireland. And after just two weeks of eating right and training?

My body fat has gone down by 2 percent – I’ve lost 8mls of fat on my stomach alone. I’ve lost 2cm off my waist and 5cm off my bum. I’m sleeping better, I’m waking better, I’m far less gassy (TMI?), my face has slimmed down (probably Eddie Rocket’s-related bloat, to be fair) and I feel really, really determined. To get stronger, fitter, leaner and cleaner. Let’s see what week three brings!

Miss week one? Catch up here. Check out Lift Training Studios – and if you have any questions, leave them below or get me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @rosemarymaccabe.